Kentucky Bourbon Trail in March

Mar 10th, 2012, 12:43 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 526
Kentucky Bourbon Trail in March

Looking for "best of" and "don't miss" tips for the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky. We are traveling from Ohio for 4 nights. We have already toured Woodford so would like to go to Makers Mark and one or two other distilleries. We would like to stay in a bed and breakfast and maybe a night in Louisville or resort type hotel. Suggestions on a horse farm or other places of interest would be welcome. Also, would like any special/unique dining experiences. Any suggestions on hard to find bourbons and best places to buy? Thanks Fodorites...looking forward to responses!
chip is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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The Haven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center isn't a working distillery, but it is agood tour and tasting opportunity. Lked the Jim Beam experience as well.
boom_boom is offline  
Mar 11th, 2012, 01:56 PM
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Four Roses was one that we really liked. Good bourbon too! We like the Galt House in Louisville.
willowjane is offline  
Mar 12th, 2012, 05:35 AM
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Heaven Hill has the best tasting room. Check out the new Willett Distillery -- tour by reservation, but the bourbon is some of the best. Also, Buffalo Trace has a great tour. We stayed at the Beautiful Dreamer in Bardstown -- huge breakfast. They also have an old jail that's haunted and you can stay there. 21C is the best in Louisville. There's a little hole in the wall liquor store in downtown Bardstown that was well-stocked with all bourbons. Can't think of the name of it. The Rickhouse in Bardstown has 100+ bourbons and great steaks. They also have a little soda fountain that had great malts.
rere_travels is offline  
Mar 12th, 2012, 06:55 AM
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We enjoyed eating at the Old Talbott Tavern Inn in Bardstown. Not so much for the food, it was just ok, but for the history of the building. It used to be a stagecoach. At the end of visiting The Trail, we stayed at Shaker Village and truly loved walking the grounds and eating at the restaurant there.
cd is offline  
Mar 12th, 2012, 12:41 PM
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Lexington has many horse farms in the area: While not on the Bourbon Trail, Buffalo Trace Distillery has wonderful tours.

Check out to learn more about Bourbon in the Bluegrass!
biglexky is offline  
Mar 29th, 2012, 02:51 PM
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Sue reporting for Chip & Sue on the Bourbon Trail. Just got back from our trip. On three days on the Bourbon Trail we visited 8 distilleries, including the 6 on the official trail passport: Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, Barton's, Markers Mark, Heaven Hill, Woodford Reserve, and Jim Beam. It was a good time for Chip, the bourbon drinker, and myself, the bourbon ball and history lover.

We booked too late and ended up at the Best Western. This would be great for a guys trip...but for me, not so much. The old jail looked like a good spot in town and I think Bardstown is a great location for touring the distilleries, because it has easy, quick access to everything.

The one place that everyone suggested as the best place to eat in town, Circa, was closed till April. This really is a summer place. Lots of things closed and these small towns close down early. early, they may close or run out of food! The Rickhouse, which we ate at one night, was wonderful but it was only open one night that we were there (open Wed-Sat.). Mammy's was wonderful for breakfast and Hadorn's Bakery has the most wonderful thing called a yum yum...and it is!! We also really liked a little deli in Lawrenceburg, Heavens to Betsy...great soups and sandwiches!

The location was great for us because it was convenient to St. Joseph's pro-cathedral for daily mass, which I enjoyed attending. Got us off to a good early start each day. We felt welcomed into the community, everyone was so friendly. I felt so at home. Mass at 6:30am, Mammy's for breakfast (they have a regular crowd), and then we hit the trail and were at a distillery by 9am so we could get to all of them in three days.

Our favorite overall experience was Makers Mark. They just have the money to do it right. The grounds, the tour where you get to dip your finger in the brewing bourbon, the tasting, the gift shop with the dip your own bottle experience just put it over the top. I definately could have spent more time here looking around.

Our first stop, Buffalo Trace, was also a great experience. Learned a lot about the history since it is the oldest working distillery, and the guide gave a good tasting experience. The White Dog experience was great!

We also were impressed by Barton's Distillery in Bardstown which is new to the touring scene. Again, the tour guide had such a love and family history with the bourbon industry it really made a difference. Learned all about the Bourbon Festival...we have to go! The tasting was good.

Four Roses, Heavens Hill, and Wild Turkey were good but found the experience less personal, more business. We ended up going to Woodford Reserve to complete our passport. We did the tour a couple of years ago. The drive there is beautiful, love the horse farms. The gift store and grounds are very nice as is the tour...but $5 to do what everyone else does free cheapens it and since we already did it, we skipped it. Jim Beam was our least favorite. At the door they almost discouraged us from going on the tour and to just do the tasting. The tasting was rushed and they actually told us that they didn't even like the bourbon balls that they were giving us but preferred the more expensive ones that we could buy, really? The workers really seemed disinterested, didn't want to answer questions, and it was just a job...and I don't think they liked it. It really makes a difference.

The Rickhouse was a great place to try those hard to find bourbons. They have about 100 different bourbons including Pappy VanWinckle which Chip is in love with but can't find anywhere. Old Talbott Tavern also has a good selection of bourbon, food not good. Chip got the $29 ,5 flight bourbon. He got to pick the ones he wanted and the bartender knew enough about bourbon to help. It was a good deal with some high priced bourbons and heavy, to the rim, a souvenir shot glass. To purchase those hard to find bourbons try Toddy's in town or Liquor World where they give some tastings.

It was a great trip. We also went to Churchhill Downs museum and did the behind the scenes tour...a fabulous guide! On the way home stopped at The Abbey of Gethsemani. Beautiful grounds, gift shop, and a short movie about the monastic life. I am going there on a silent retreat this summer.

Kentucky is a beautiful state to visit in the spring. I look forward to going back for retreat and hopefully someday the Bourbon Festival and the Kentucky Derby too!!
chip is offline  
Mar 30th, 2012, 08:40 AM
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Marker's Mark was our favorite too! You should sign up to be an Ambassador, you get a barrel named after you and a gift every Christmas. Fun!
cd is offline  
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